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Feeling Guilty For Loving YA Romance

Writing by Brittany Carlson // photograph by Maria

Writing by Brittany Carlson // photograph by Maria

Yes, it is soppy, yes, it is predictable, no, it is not intellectually stimulating, but am I going to continue to enjoy it? Big yes.

I love reading with all my heart and soul, I think books are the cartographers of my life. No matter what I think of a book, by the time I read the last sentence every book has given me something, including YA romance.

I’m a classics girl, a true dark academic if you will, a literature loving nerd at heart but my shelves are also full of Young Adult fiction and YA romance features prominently. I’m not sure when but somewhere along the line I became conscious of what I was reading, I became embarrassed if I was reading Jenny Han’s “To all the boys I’ve loved before” or “The fault in our stars.” If it wasn’t “Shakespeare’s complete works” then suddenly it wasn’t worthy of being read in public and I should feel guilty and full of shame if I dared enjoy anything that wasn’t deeply intellectually stimulating.

Why did I feel the need to say “I know, don’t judge me” before telling someone I was in the middle of reading a light, fluffy, YA romance? Are there some out there that are just bad? Yes, are there some out there that promote unhealthy relationships? Yes, but there are also some really beautiful ones.

Sometimes you just need to believe in a happy ending or give your mind a break from this extremely overstimulating world and at the end of a long day, when all I feel like doing is disappearing into the very air that I am breathing, a light romance novel is exactly what I need to wind down and bring me back to myself.

I love, love and I while some may say it makes me naïve, I would say it makes me incredibly strong. I have seen the ugly in the world, yet I continue to believe that love can be like it is in the books. That takes nothing less than guts of steel, to believe in something you have never seen or experienced before. But just because I am a hopeless romantic doesn’t make me any less capable. It doesn’t mean I can’t have deeply philosophical conversations that span hours, it doesn’t hinder my ability to have an informed political debate and it definitely doesn’t make me any less of a kick ass, independent woman.

Those books with great confessions of love, kisses in the rain, and happy endings aren’t trash. Their writers put their souls into those pages. They probably lost sleep and cried and drank way too much coffee in the process of writing their books, and so I won’t feel guilty for enjoying them and neither should you. No one should. If you can enjoy a happy ending in a world full of not happy endings, then you should and you should be proud of it.


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